If you’re a fan of pretty passing, Fulham versus Arsenal is definitely the match for you.
To his credit, home boss Slavisa Jokanovic has not betrayed his principles, sticking with the possession-based style that helped the Cottagers achieve promotion.
Outside of the top six, no team has made a greater number of short passes.
But has this been to the detriment of Fulham’s results? Possibly.
Conceding several goals from turnovers already this term, caused from over-playing inside their own half, the West London side have been a tad naïve at times.
Up against the Gunners, one of the best counter-attacking sides in the country, that spells trouble.
Letting in 2.3 goals per game so far, I’m not sure Fulham will be able to keep things tight, even on home turf, so the 7/5 on over 2.5 Arsenal goals with Mansion Bet appeals.
Goodness knows what Rafa Benitez was thinking, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is ripping it up in the top flight, making the Newcastle United boss look a fool for dispensing with his services.
The Serb has scored five goals in seven starts, and taken more shots on goal than anyone else in the division.
Arsenal will find him a handful on Sunday lunchtime.
While I’d expect Greek international Sokratis to regain his place, alongside the in-form Rob Holding at Shkodran Mustafi’s expense (a wise move) the Fulham marksman may still be decent value at 7/4 to score anytime (BetHard).
When crosses fly into the box he will take some stopping.
Incidentally, Mitrovic is also high on the list of red card possibilities too.
He has committed more fouls than any other Fulham star, and with a slightly iffy temperament is worth consideration at 24/1 with BetHard to take an early bath.
Arsenal arrive on the banks of the River Thames on a fabulous win streak. It’s now eight victories on the spin for Unai Emery’s men.
While that’s positive, to be frank the record flatters them a little.
They have been favourites to win each contest, and in all of those games Emery’s men have shown defensive vulnerability, before their undisputed prowess in forward areas has got them over the line.
If the performance levels stay the same, a draw, at 33/10 (Sport Nation) is not unlikely.
Slow starts have also been the order of the day.
Arsenal have not led at half-time in any of their seven Premier League outings, and sit in 15th place in the mythical half-time table!
It would certainly be following a pattern if the Gunners won the match after going in at the interval on level terms.
Fulham, for what it’s worth, are not the best inside the closing stages either, shipping four goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.
That’s a tally surpassed by just two sides, Bournemouth and Cardiff City.
Part of the reason behind Fulham’s mildly underwhelming start – just one win – is a lack of continuity in the all-important centre-back department.
Jokanovic has tinkered with his back four each weekend, using more than a handful of partnerships in the heart of the defence already.
Last time out in a 3-0 loss to Everton, Tim Ream and Dennis Odoi started; and in the previous match at home to Watford the CBs were Calum Chambers and Alfie Mawson.
I don’t see this chopping and changing helping matters, and it may leave them extra vulnerable against an Arsenal side with serious firepower.
A long trip home from Baku on Friday morning can’t have helped the Gunners’ preparations, but when a team is winning games thick and fast, fatigue mysteriously seems to have less effect.
I fancy them, and if you want to follow a man in form, Alex Iwobi should be your pick.
The Nigeria international is playing with supreme confidence at the moment, running at his markers with menace, creating chances aplenty.
Breaking into the box with greater regularity too, Iwobi represents a better goal threat this season than he has before.
As a kid he played as a striker, so we know he can finish, and with self-belief soaring I feel the time is right for Iwobi to put his name in lights.
He has done more than enough to be picked to start, but may have to make an impression from the bench again.
Nevertheless, my selection is a wincast that tips up Alex Iwobi to score anytime in an Arsenal win at Craven Cottage.
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